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Election Tracker: Crystal Clear Chowkidar is Thief, Says Rahul as Rafale Report Gives Fresh Ammo | February 8, 2019, 8:46 PM IST
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Lok Sabha Elections LIVE: Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed yet another public rally in West Bengal on Friday, giving a fresh thrust to the BJP's campaign blitzkrieg ahead of the Lok Sabha polls amid escalating tensions with TMC chief Mamata Banerjee.

In the rally, Modi's third in the state in a week, the Prime Minister attacked Banerjee for her sit-in protest and said it was the first time that a chief minister had sit on Dharna to protect those who had looted lakhs of people. The attack came three days after Banerjee called off her sit-in protest against "politically motivated" attempts by the CBI to question Kolkata police chief Rajeev Kumar in the Saradha chit fund scam case.
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Feb 8, 2019 8:01 pm (IST)

Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Friday rejected Congress President Rahul Gandhi's charge that Prime Minister Narendra Modi ran parallel negotiation for the Rafale deal and accused him of provoking the armed forces against the government. "Today I object to what Rahul has said — he was telling Air Force pilots and officers 'look what Prime Minister is doing to you'. What does this mean, what is going on in his mind? Does he want to provoke them? Does he want to make them stand up against the government? Is it a responsible job of the Opposition? It is very dangerous," she told media outside Parliament. 

Feb 8, 2019 6:21 pm (IST)

CLICK TO READ | Didi Wants PM Post, Has Left Bengal in Hands of Middlemen: Modi Says on Mamata's Turf

Addressing a well-attended BJP rally here in North Bengal's Jalpaiguri district, his third within a week, Modi said 'Didi' had left the running of the state to an 'extortionist syndicate' of middleman as she is busy eyeing his post.

Feb 8, 2019 5:53 pm (IST)

'Modi Became PM Because of the Power of Money' | "He is afraid because we are working together. I was never scared, I have always fought my way out. I have always respected 'Ma-Maati-Maanush'. It is a misfortune that he has become the PM because of the power of money," Mamata said during a press conference.

Feb 8, 2019 5:49 pm (IST)

Addressing a Kisan Aabhar Sammelan (thanksgiving rally) here, the Congress president said that the BJP hailed the announcement of the cash support for farmers in the Lok Sabha when the interim Union Budget 2019-20 was presented. "They were hailing the decision, but announced only Rs 17 assistance per day to farmersOn one hand, the government wrote off Rs 3.5 lakh crore loans of 15 big industrialists, but gave Rs 17 per day to farmers. If you divide that amount further, it comes down Rs 3.5 per person," he told the gathering. Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath was also present on the occasion. 

Feb 8, 2019 5:46 pm (IST)

Congress chief Rahul Gandhi Friday mocked the Modi government for announcing support of Rs 6,000 per year to small and marginal farmers when it "wrote off" Rs 3.5 lakh crore loans of 15 big industrialists. Gandhi also reiterated that the PMO was directly involved in conducting negotiations with the French side on the Rafale deal. The Congress would ensure minimum income guarantee for the poor if elected to power after the upcoming Lok Sabha polls, he said.

Feb 8, 2019 5:29 pm (IST)

West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee taking on the Prime Minister Narendra Modi:

Feb 8, 2019 5:24 pm (IST)

The BJP has its own band party to beat its drums, but there is no bride or groom. All of this is election stunts, said Mamata Banerjee.

Feb 8, 2019 5:13 pm (IST)

'Modi Inaugurated Projects Implemented by Us only to Show-off' | On the contrary, Mamata Banerjee has refuted PM Modi's claim that the work behind the Circuit house and the Highway in Jalpaiguri were done by the Modi government at the centre. She has said that it was the state government's implementation, Bengal's manpower and the Calcutta High Court's supervision that led to the success of the two projects. "Modi came only for show-off and nothing else," she added.

Feb 8, 2019 5:05 pm (IST)

'Now it is Clear that Chowkidar is Thief' | Rahul Gandhi during his Bhopal rally on Friday demanded answers to questions raised by The Hindu report that the PMO conducted parallel negotiations on the Rafale deal, saying it is now crystal clear that the "watchman" is the "thief" as he ramped up his attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi. It is an open and shut case, Gandhi declared, citing a report in The Hindu newspaper claiming the Defence ministry raised strong objections to "parallel discussions" conducted by the Prime Minister's Office during the negotiations over the Rs 59,000 crore Rafale fighter jet deal between India and France.

Feb 8, 2019 4:56 pm (IST)

'The Hindu Report Indicts PM, PMO' | Congress spokesperson Manish Tewari attacked the Modi government on Rafale fighter jet deal, citing The Hindu reports. "Now, the documents released by the Defence Minister indicts the PM and the PMO much more. The government in haste tried to defend itself by presenting few papers," he said.

Feb 8, 2019 4:49 pm (IST)

Rahul Flays Modi for Parallel Negotiations on Rafale | Meanwhile, Congress president Rahul Gandhi is addressing the Kisan Abhar Rally in Bhopal where he attacked the PM on the Rafale deal. He said, "Ministry of Defence officers say that PM Modi signed a deal with France without even informing them. Modi did parallel negotiations to benefit his cronies." 

Feb 8, 2019 4:42 pm (IST)

'Congress Supports Atrocities on Muslim Women' | PM Modi flayed the Congress-led opposition parties for not supporting the triple talaq bill. "The Congress has revealed its real face on the triple talaq issue yesterday. They are at all concerned about our Muslim women. Congress supports atrocities on Muslim women. But, why is Mamata also not supporting the Triple Talaq bill? Why is she against Muslim women," he said. 

Feb 8, 2019 4:37 pm (IST)

'This Chowkidar will Not Spare the Corrupt' | Affirming his stand against corruption, the Prime Minister said that the NDA at the Centre will clean the country of corruption. "This Chowkidar will not spare anyone who is corrupt and each one who suffered great loss from these scams will get justice. Today all the corrupt people are scared of Modi," he said.

Feb 8, 2019 4:33 pm (IST)

'Bengal CM Stands with Looters' | Blasting out at the West Bengal Chief Minister for her sit-in, PM Modi said, "This was the first time a CM sat on Dharna, standing shoulder to shoulder with the looters who robbed the poor." 

Feb 8, 2019 4:28 pm (IST)

Those who got power in Bengal in the name of "Maa, Maati, Manush" have adopted the culture of violence, says PM Modi attacking Mamata government. Adding that the TMC government has rendered people helpless, PM Modi said that it has defamed the soil of West Bengal.

Feb 8, 2019 4:24 pm (IST)

Mamata Didi Wants to be PM, But What about Bengal? | Hitting out at Mamata Banerjee's leadership, PM Modi said, "Didi dreams of becoming the PM, but is not concerned about Bengal. The TMC has only promoted bloodshed in the state."

Feb 8, 2019 4:21 pm (IST)

Vowing to get "rid of the Syndicate raj in Bengal", PM Modi said the BJP is determined to work in Bengal. "The BJP has given farmers a pension of Rs 3,000 per month and by 2022 every India will have a home. This is my mission," the PM said. 

Feb 8, 2019 4:18 pm (IST)

PM Modi attacked the TMC for the rising unemployment in the state saying, "The law and order situation has crumbled in Bengal over the years. Industries are not developing and youth are migrating out of Bengal. Work on various developmental projects has been stalled, but does all this bother the Bengal government?"

Feb 8, 2019 4:13 pm (IST)

The Trinamool Congress is Communist part II, and its leadership has led Bengal to chaos. Today Bengal stands for violence and dictatorship, said PM Modi. Slamming the TMC dispensation for "ignoring the hills", PM Modi said, "What have the TMC done for the tea growers? North Bengal has completely been neglected." 

Feb 8, 2019 4:09 pm (IST)

Neither TMC, Nor CPIM Cared for You | Speaking about his government's contribution to Jalpaiguri, PM Modi said, "We have inaugurated a High Court Bench here so that people do not have to go to Kolkata." Taking on the Congress, TMC and the CPIM together, the PM charged all three erstwhile governments for not caring enough for the people of Bengal.

Feb 8, 2019 4:02 pm (IST)

PM Modi Begins 3rd Bengal Rally | After laying the foundation stone for a four-lane highway Jalpaiguri, Prime Minister Narendra Modi begins his mega rally in West Bengal. This is the third rally he will be addressing within a week's time. 

Feb 8, 2019 3:12 pm (IST)

CLICK TO READ | Taking the Battle to Mamata Banerjee: What Makes West Bengal So Important For the BJP

According to analysts, the contest in West Bengal will only be between Mamata Bannerjee's AITC and the BJP in 2019 as Congress and the Left have lost their relevance in the state.

Feb 8, 2019 2:50 pm (IST)

Samajwadi Party leader and former Uttar Pradesh minister Azam Khan had sparked a controversy previously saying that the Ram Temple issue is not about faith, instead it is about elections. Amit Shah was also previously seen bringing the temple agenda at the forefront of the election season. At the BJP's national conventional in New Delh, Shah asserted that the party wants the Ram temple to be build in Ayodhya at the earliest. The BJP President had accused the Congress of putting "hurdles" in resolution of the issue. Shah has asked the opposition party to make its stand clear on the matter. Both the Congress and the BJP are using the temple issues to gain political mileage. Rahul Gandhi in Bhopal today was welcomed with posters of him as Lord Ram. 

Feb 8, 2019 2:30 pm (IST)

"I wish to re-state our position. BJP is committed and dedicated to building a Ram temple in the exact same spot in Ayodhya," says Amit Shah.

Feb 8, 2019 2:26 pm (IST)

Amit Shah says, "The Government brought the NRC exercise into play in Assam that led to the identification of 40 Lac illegal immigrants. Work is currently underway to deport these immigrants."

Feb 8, 2019 2:23 pm (IST)

Amit Shah addresses rally in Maharajganj, Uttar Pradesh | BJP party president launched a direct attack on the Congress, saying "BJP doesn't function on basis of a dynasty but on democracy. When our govt is formed, there's development. During 'Bua-Bhatija' reign, Purvanchal was going through menace of mosquitoes and mafia. After BJP govt was formed mafia disappeared, encephalitis cases are going down"

Feb 8, 2019 1:42 pm (IST)

Gandhi had promised a farm loan waiver in MP if his party was elected to power | The Congress party's media cell coordinator Narendra Saluja had termed Rahul Gandhi's farmers' rally as a "thanksgiving rally". Gandhi's Bhopal rally, scheduled for 2 pm at BHEL Jamboree Maindan today, will see the Congress President being felicitated by farmers for the farm loan waiver announced in the state after the Congress-led Kamal Nath government took over. The 'Jai Kisan Rin Mukti Yojana' would benefit 50-55 lakh farmers, wherein loans up to Rs 2 lakh of eligible farmers are to be waived off. 

Feb 8, 2019 1:29 pm (IST)

Newly elected chief minister of Chhattisgarh, Bhupesh Baghel, had earlier said that Mayawati’s party had helped the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) during the recent assembly election in the state. “Despite helping the BJP in the Chhatisgarh, the BSP could secure only 15 seats. If people want to defeat the saffron party in Uttar Pradesh, they should only vote for Congress." Bhagel had said. In the assembly polls held in November last year, the party had suffered a massive defeat at the hands of the Congress and bagged just 15 out of the 90 seats.

Feb 8, 2019 1:07 pm (IST)

Modi hits back at the rising unity against his party | "Most members of the (Gandhi) family are either out on bail or have obtained anticipatory bail," Modi said addressing the rally at Kodatarai in Raigarh district, adding "I have come amidst you to get a new mandate for a new India." Taking potshots at the attempts to form a mahagathbandhan (grand alliance) against the BJP, PM Modi stated the need to guard against the 'mahamilavat' (highly adulterated) regime if his party wasn't voted back.

Feb 8, 2019 12:44 pm (IST)

CLICK TO READ | Defence Secretary Complained to Manohar Parrikar of PMO's Parallel Negotiation on Rafale: Report

As the report gave more ammunition to the opposition against the government in Lok Sabha, current defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman accused The Hindu of biased reporting, saying it should have published Parrikar's response as well.

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Election Tracker: Crystal Clear Chowkidar is Thief, Says Rahul as Rafale Report Gives Fresh Ammo
File photo of Rahul Gandhi.

Simultaneously, Congress chief Rahul Gandhi addressed a farmers' rally at Bhopal's BHEL Jamboree Maidan. Attacking the Modi government over the Rafale report in Hindu, he said Prime Minister Narendra Modi made the aircraft deal directly with the French government without informing our Defence Ministry. He also attacked the government over the budget announcement of Rs 6,000 per year cash support for farmers, saying, “Modi government wrote off Rs 3.50 lakh crore debt of rich people but gives a paltry Rs 17 per day to farmers.”

A media report on PMO allegedly undermining the Rafale negotiations with France has given Congress chief Rahul Gandhi-led opposition fresh ammunition against the Narendra Modi government in the run-up to elections. Gandhi said the government can use the law against his brother-in-law Robert Vadra and former finance minister P Chidambaram, who are under the ED scanner, but must answer questions on Rafale.

Cornered in the Lok Sabha by the opposition, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said the Congress is “flogging a dead horse”.

Meanwhile, there is also speculation that the Congress president is likely to announce an unemployment dole, in an effort to match incentives announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Party's media cell coordinator Narendra Saluja termed the MP event a "thanksgiving rally" where farmers would felicitate Gandhi for the farm loan waiver announced in the state after a Congress-led government under Chief Minister Kamal Nath took over.

Gandhi, during the campaign for the MP Assembly polls in November last year, had promised a farm loan waiver if his party was elected to power. "All top Congress leaders from the state, including (CM) Kamal Nath ji, Jyotiraditya Scindia ji (AICC general secretary) and Digvijay Singh ji (ex-CM), will participate in the rally," he said.

Congress spokesperson Pankaj Chaturvedi claimed more than two lakh farmers from the state are likely to participate in the rally. The MP government had earlier said the Rs 50,000 crore farm loan waiver scheme titled 'Jai Kisan Rin Mukti Yojana' would benefit 50-55 lakh farmers.

Under the scheme, loans up to Rs 2 lakh of eligible farmers are to be waived off. The government has said that farmers will start receiving benefits of the waiver in their bank accounts from February 22.
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